Faculty/Staff Benefits Committee Meeting
July 31, 2003
Members present: Bonnie Ownley, Sibyl Marshall, John Preston, David Anderson, Sherry Sims (substituting for Connie Baskette), Beauvais Lyons
The meeting was convened at 11:00 am.
Beauvais Lyons spoke with the committee about potential issues to address for 2003-04. These included:
Beauvais indicated that someone should be designated to take minutes at the next meeting and Sibyl indicated that she would assist Bonnie Ownley. Minutes of the FSB meetings should be forwarded to Bob Glenn for inclusion on the Faculty Senate website.
- Revise bylaws for committee chair appointment. The bylaws should be more flexible with regard to chair appointment.
- Work to ensure that benefits (insurance and retirement) are in effect for faculty electing to take a full-year of approved educational leave (Professional Leave Policy). The FSB should coordinate with Professional Development Committee, Connie Baskette (Office of Retirement Services), Jamie Wilson (Insurance Coordinator, Treasurer's Office) Alan Chesney (Director of Human Resources) and Chancellor Crabtree on this issue. Faculty members are allowed a total of 2 years of "educational leave" during their career.
- Review state policies regarding 100% cashability of retirement funds. The Pension and Insurance Committee in Nashville oversees this, but there is a question of whether it is worth the time of the FSB Committee to pursue this issue. We should determine how many people have taken advantage of the 50% cashability option since it has been implemented. For example, there are actually two groups that take the 50% cashability option; retirees and faculty leaving UT for various reasons, early in their careers. Also, what is the current political climate for changing it?
- Review mental health coverage benefits. Current coverage is not very extensive. This issue was raised by Henry Fribourg (retired, Plant Sciences Dept.; 974-8814) John Preston will check with Henry to assess the issues and will check with the Commissioner for Mental Health and Disabilities for TN (Virginia Trotter-Betts).
- Explore ways to enhance maternity leave. What are the maternity leave policies at other public Universities in Tennessee? Look at THEC peers and other southeastern Universities. Consider equity for men and women. Currently, faculty and staff can take advantage of the Family and Medical Leave Act and Sick Leave. There is also a Sick Leave Bank. FSB should coordinate with the Commission for Women (Nancy Goslee) who has worked on this issue. This benefit should be included in the new Faculty Handbook (work with Handbook Revision Committee). FSB could work with Budget Committee to determine the cost of a Maternity Leave program. Sibyl Marshall indicated that she was interested in working on this issue.
- Study health and retirement benefits for gay and lesbian employees. Committee members will read the article: http://www.einsure.com/journal/030715.asp. Check with peer institutions. Encourage non-discrimination language in the UT EEO-AA statement to make this possible. Several universities (including some of the Board of Regents schools in TN) state that they do not discriminate on the "basis of sexual orientation." Barbara Rudolph in Equity and Diversity may be able to assist with this.
- Monitor the Graduate Student Health Benefits Plan.
Members of the FSB stated that they would like to continue to promote increases in faculty salaries, especially since in many disciplines we are below the average of our peer institutions. Beauvais indicated that he would provide the FSB committee with the most recent Faculty Salary data.
The meeting was adjourned.
Bonnie H. Ownley
Faculty/Staff Benefits Committee Meeting
September 15, 2003
Members present: David Anderson, David Barnaby, Alan Chesney, Susan Hamilton, Syed Islam, Barbara Kaye, Bonnie Ownley (Chair), John Preston, and John Wilkerson.
The meeting was convened at 11:10 AM.
Salary differences between women and men faculty members. Barbara Kaye raised the concern that the salaries of female faculty are significantly lower than those of male faculty, and suggested that this issue should be a charge of the FSB committee. Bonnie Ownley reported that this issue had been raised at the last meeting of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee (FSEC), and that a committee had been identified with the charge of trying to determine the underlying causes in noticeable salary differences. The gap between male and female faculty salaries had been getting smaller up until last year. At the FSEC meeting Chancellor Crabtree had indicated that the committee charged with this task will be examining the problem on a case by case basis, i.e. they will try to identify individual salary inequities. Bonnie Ownley indicated that she would find out which committee had been charged with this task so that the FSB committee could be kept informed of their progress.
Dates for future meetings. The next two meetings will be held on October 13, 2003 and November 10, 2003.
- Revise bylaws for committee chair appointment. Bonnie Ownley provided copies of the Faculty Senate bylaws pertaining to committee membership.
Membership shall consist of ten faculty members with three-year staggered terms. Ex-officio members shall include the University Treasurer, Director, Office of Retirement Services, and the Executive Director of Human Resources for the University (or their designees). The Chairperson shall be appointed by the Committee on Nominations and Appointments and must have been an active member of the committee for at least two years prior to serving as Chairperson.
There was discussion concerning the last sentence of paragraph 1. The requirement for the Chairperson to have served as an active member of the FSB for two years prior to serving as Chairperson has been a difficult requirement to fulfill. A motion was made and seconded that "and must have been an active member of the committee for at least two years prior to serving as Chairperson" be deleted from the bylaws. The motion was approved unanimously. Bonnie Ownley will take the proposed change in bylaws forward to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee.
This committee will examine, clarify, and make recommendations to the Faculty Senate on issues and concern on retirement, leave, faculty welfare, insurance, and fringe benefits; cooperate with committees addressing similar concerns on other higher education campuses in Tennessee; receive representation from and provide representation to any other Faculty Senate or University task force or committee addressing issues directly related to faculty and staff benefits. When appropriate, the Committee will cooperate with other Faculty Senate committees on base salary issues that are related to faculty and staff benefits.
- Work to ensure that benefits (insurance and retirement) are in effect for faculty electing to take a full-year of approved educational leave (Professional Leave Policy).
Bonnie Ownley supplied copies of the Professional Leave Policy and the Educational Leave Policy to committee members. She reported that in discussions with Connie Baskette, she understood that benefits (insurance and retirement) would be protected when a faculty member chose to take a period of professional leave as long as they complied with the Educational Leave Policy. Several questions were raised by committee members, including whether there is an application form, whether there is money from the Chancellor's office for this program, and whether there is a committee to evaluate applications for educational leave. Committee members expressed interest in being able to ask Connie Baskette (Retirement) and a representative from Insurance directly about their concerns. Bonnie Ownley indicated that she would try to arrange for these individuals to be present at the next meeting (October 13, 2003).
- Review state policies regarding 100% cashability of retirement funds. Committee members discussed whether this was the right time to pursue this charge. It was pointed out that the change from 10% cashability to 50% had only been in effect for one year. According to the Office of Retirement Services, most persons taking advantage of this option had left UT prior to retirement, while only about 25% of retirees were choosing this option. It was suggested that a longer period was needed to determine if there was sufficient interest to pursue this charge. The committee decided to not pursue this charge for 2003-2004.
- Review mental health coverage benefits. John Preston has been working on gathering benchmark information from the Commissioner for Mental Health and Disabilities for TN (Virginia Trotter-Betts). He is also trying to contact a retired faculty member, Dr. Henry Fribourg, who initially raised the issue. Alan Chesney indicated that he would arrange to have Wayne Maddox attend the November meeting.
- Explore ways to enhance maternity leave. Susan Hamilton suggested that adoption be included and this was supported by the committee. It was also suggested that paternity leave be considered. The committee discussed ways to approach this issue. The primary problem appears to be for faculty with 9-month appointments and for non-tenure track faculty. It was suggested that Mary Papke was the appropriate contact with the Commission for Women. Susan Hamilton indicated that she would be willing to work on this charge. At an earlier meeting Sibyl Marshall had indicated that she was interested in working on this issue. It was suggested that discussions with the Commission for Women representatives be reported at the November meeting.
- Study health and retirement benefits for gay and lesbian employees. Committee members discussed the complexities of this issue. Alan Chesney indicated that he would be able to provide information on TN State law concerning survivorship and benefits for domestic partners. There was discussion about why the current AA/EEO statement does not include "sexual orientation" while statements from some of the THEC schools and our peer land grant institutions do include this group. It was suggested that this was a legal issue and that someone from General Council should be invited to address the FSB Committee on this issue. Tentative plans were made to invite someone for the January 2004 meeting.
- Monitor the Graduate Student Health Benefits Plan. Syed Islam indicated that he was willing to take the lead on this charge. He noted that the amount that principal investigators are required to pay for graduate students supported by grant and contract funding had increased from $546 to $576. He also indicated that if a student is retained for only 6-months, the health insurance benefit has to be paid for 1 year. Jim Boyle was identified as the administrator of this program.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:30 pm.
Bonnie H. Ownley
Faculty/Staff Benefits Committee Meeting
October 13, 2003
Members present: David Anderson, Connie Baskette, Susan Hamilton, Syed Islam, Barbara Kaye, Sibyl Marshall, Bonnie Ownley (Chair), John Preston, and Neal Wormsley. Guests present: Bob Levy and Sherry Sims
The meeting was convened at 11:10 AM.
Minutes from the previous meeting (September 15, 2003) were approved. Bonnie Ownley will send these to Bob Glenn for posting at the Faculty Senate website.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:25 pm.
- Faculty Development Leave
Bob Levy joined the Committee to bring members up-to-date on the status of the faculty leave policy. Information on eligibility and the application forms are posted at the Chancellor's website. Bob stated that a timeline and a checklist were needed for the process. Connie Baskette indicated that she had prepared a check list. She also noted that the application for educational leave posted at the website needs to be updated. Bob Levy mentioned that announcements need to be made to the faculty. He indicated that the Chancellor's office will publicize all deadlines related to faculty development leave by announcing in UT Daily on-line newsletter and posting on the Chancellor's website. He also stated that currently there is no funding from the Chancellor's office to support this program, funding must come from the PI's extramural funding, department, college, or other responsible unit.
A problem related to parking was discussed. If a faculty member is on educational leave out of Knoxville, they must relinquish their parking sticker for that time period, or they will be charged for it. When they return, they may have lost their priority status for parking stickers. Bob Levy stated that a "kinder, gentler" policy was needed and that the Chancellor's office would work on a solution to this problem.
Connie Baskette and Neal Wormsley mentioned other stipulations to the new faculty development leave program. The cumulative, maximum time period during which a faculty member may take educational leave over a career, and still receive retirement benefits during the leave period, is two years. Also, the summer period does count towards the cumulative time period for faculty members on 12-month appointments, but not for those on 9-month appointments. Bob Levy stated that the Chancellor's office will disclose information related to the 2-yr-maximum time period for faculty development leave and retirement benefits on the Chancellor's website.
- EEO Statement
Bonnie Ownley distributed the EEO statements of several Universities that include sexual orientation in their anti-discrimination language. These included University of Memphis and East Tennessee State University, institutions of the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR). Discussion followed on reasons to include sexual orientation in UT's EEO statement, most notably on instances where potential faculty candidates reacted negatively to absence of it in the EEO statement. Bob Levy suggested that a thorough survey of the EEO statements of all TBR institutions be done. It appears that there is not a system-wide TBR policy on this issue. The question was raised of whether benefits for domestic partners were in place at any of the institutions with sexual orientation in their EEO statement. Bonnie Ownley, Sibyl Marshall and John Preston agreed to follow-up on this. Neal Wormsley suggested that the Office of Equity and Diversity may have information on this issue.
- Inequities in salaries of women and minority faculty
Bonnie Ownley indicated that according to minutes of the September 8 meeting of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee (FSEC), the Executive Budget Committee will be charged with identifying individual salary inequities. Groups such as women and minorities will be tracked to determine if there are patterns of salary inequities.
- Revise bylaws for committee chair appointment
Bonnie Ownley indicated that the proposed change in by-laws has been forward to Beauvais Lyons for consideration at the next Faculty Senate Executive Committee meeting.
- Review mental health coverage benefits
Neal Wormsley indicated that he would gather information on current coverage for mental health issues.
- Monitor the Graduate Student Health Benefits Plan
The question was raised regarding how many credit hours a graduate student must take per semester in order to be eligible for health benefits. Some committee members were aware that graduate students are not eligible unless they are taking 9 or more credit hours. This presents a problem for those students who are not aware of this and drop a course during the semester. It was suggested that each department or responsible unit mention this during orientation of new graduate students.
Respectfully submitted, Bonnie H. Ownley
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